Driver Performance Analysis: Belgium
Published 5th September 2012 - Written by Badger GP Staff
We’ve already done him, he’s TOP DOG – read why here.
Give the man from Frome a car that is to his liking and the man is devastating. Even with a slight whimper of understeer (which we think is now just a bad habit) he was absolutely mighty in Q2 and Q3 to nail pole position.
Losing the threats of Hamilton and Alonso (and maybe Grosjean) spurred him on to put in a dominant race day performance. The gamble of a low downforce set-up worked wonders, but you have to think that with 63 points between him and Fernando – as well as 4 other drivers – that it’s a bit too much, too late.
For all the talent the young Frenchman possesses, there seems to be this reckless streak that rears it’s ugly head every so often. We say every so often, but it’s been roughly 6 times in 12 races in the early stages (Silverstone wasn’t his fault, to be fair). That’s a 50% un-success rate.
It seems the racy nature of GP2 is still in his blood after last season. He’ll have the whole of the Monza weekend to get it out of his system now.
Had he not had such a disastrous qualifying session and first lap Sebastien Vettel could well have challenged Jenson Button for the win at Spa. After dropping out in Q2 Seb slipped to 12th on the opening lap of the race, despite half of the drivers in front of him being wiped out in the turn one melee.
But from there he was on fire, once again proving that he can do far more than just cruise off from the front. Vettel put decisive but controlled moves on team-mate Mark Webber, the surprisingly okay Felipe Massa and several others on his way to second at the flag. It was a champion’s drive, and one that puts him firmly in the mix to retain his crown.
Perhaps it was the Ardennes air; maybe he’s finally learned to understand Rob Smedley and all that coaching is getting through; or maybe he was just feeling a bit more chilled without Alonso running five places ahead of him all afternoon. Whatever it was, Felipe looked decent in Spa. Not great, but he produced better than his usual 2012 form (which has veered between average and Luca Badoer) on his way to P5. He’ll need to do that far more often over the second half of the season if he’s to convince the world he still deserves a spot at the best table in Maranello’s finest restaurant, but it was a start.
Not much cop, really mate. After qualifying a so-so seventh, which became 12th after a gearbox change penalty, Webber never seemed fully immersed in the race. While team-mate Vettel scythed up the order Mark hung around the mid-points scorers to eventually come home sixth – behind Felipe Massa! It’s this kind of inconsistency that keeps question marks hanging over his title credentials.
And the run continues. After what we consider to be the greatest false start in F1 history – seriously, he dropped the clutch on the fifth red light – he was just clipped by the carnage.
Maybe his danger-sense was tingling and he decided to do the off and get out of the way. Pastor’s been in enough trouble to know when it’s coming by now.